An Algerian military court on Wednesday sentenced Said Bouteflika, the brother of former President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, to 15 years in prison for plotting against the state and undermining the army, reported Reuters. Former president Bouteflika was forced to quit in April in the face of mass protests against his 20-year-rule.
Said went on trial on Monday alongside two former intelligence chiefs and a political party head on accusations of “undermining the authority of the army” and “conspiring against the authority of the state”. All the three other co-defendants were given the same sentence. Said was widely seen as the real power behind the presidency since his brother suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013.
The two ex-intelligence chiefs, Mohamed Mediene and Bachir Tartag, Said and Louisa Hanoune, leader of the Workers Party, were arrested in May over a meeting to plan declare a state of emergency in the country and firing the army chief, General Ahmed Gaid Salah.
Defence lawyer Miloud Ibrahimi said the prosecutors at the military court in Blida, south of the capital, Algiers, had asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years against all the defendants.
In related news, Algeria’s army chief Salah on Tuesday urged massive participation in a presidential election planned for December. The election has been scheduled for Dec. 12. But, protesters want the election to be canceled as they believe that members of the old ruling elite will manipulate the vote to keep their grip on power.
Salah urged the people of Algeria to take part in the election and make it successful.
“We urge citizens to mobilize massively to make this vote a starting point for the renewal of institutions,” he added. “This will allow the election of a new president with full legitimacy that will enable him to meet the aspirations of the people.”